By: Michelle Kankousky, Program Manager, Talent Development
Employee training is one of the most significant investments your organization may make. It’s also one of the most critical initiatives impacting the long-term success of any business. Employees need information to do their jobs well. Most want to advance in their careers, and if your employees don’t evolve with the times, they and your company fall behind. In short, there’s always something new for every employee to learn that brings value to themselves and their businesses.
Types and purposes of employee training
Over the employee lifecycle, there are many types of training that employees may need. A few examples include:
- Initial training as a means of introduction to a company and job role
- Ongoing knowledge, skills, and competency training related to a specific job role
- Cross-training employees to learn the competencies of other departments or roles
- Reskilling employees so they can shift over into new roles
- Any training that’s encouraged or required by law, e.g., compliance, ethics, discrimination and harassment, and human rights and fair labor practices.
Determining where your company needs training
Think about your organizational goals, mission, and values. Are there missing pieces that can hold your company back? Understanding individuals’ training needs hinges on ongoing dialogue with them to ascertain:
- What are their strengths and weaknesses – and how each of those can be leveraged
- In which skills or knowledge areas do they most need improvement
- About their personal interests
- How they learn best
- In which way they can best serve organizational goals
- What do the next steps in their career look like, and how training can facilitate their progress
If you identify several training needs, prioritize them based on importance and business impact. Some training may be time specific. For example:
- The first few weeks of an employee’s start date are optimal for orientation and onboarding.
- Your company just implemented new technology that employees need to use.
- A new law impacts your business, and employees need to understand regulatory requirements and associated processes.
Training may be dictated by the government or another external authority to recur at prescribed intervals, like safety or compliance training. Some training will be situational and should happen whenever you identify a need for it. Let employees know the details of the training in advance.
Any training your company delivers should be:
- Clear in purpose and objectives
- Relevant to a specific business need or employees’ roles
- Achievable according to established metrics of success
All training should have measurable value and never be about training just for the sake of it.
- Evaluate what participants and your company should get out of the training. Is it meaningful?
- Examine the costs of the training against the benefits. What is the anticipated return on investment (ROI)?
- Define what success looks like. What knowledge or skills should employees be able to showcase? How will they demonstrate this? What quantifiable benefit will the company realize?
- Will the training appeal to employees of different age groups and diverse learning styles? Does it leverage a variety of delivery methods?
- Is the training adaptable for off-site consumption?
- Is the training flexible in pacing to accommodate varying scheduling demands and employees in distant locations?
For external training, assess the expertise and qualifications of the provider. Are they legitimate, reputable, respected sources? How much travel or time away from the office does training require, and is this acceptable to you? Additionally, be realistic about the limitations of training. All the training in the world cannot overcome or fix underlying problems in your workplace, such as:
- A negative culture
- Interpersonal issues between colleagues
- Disengaged and uninterested employees
Today, most employees want their training to be:
- Short and concise “micro-training” (20-30 minutes maximum)
- Highly focused on the subject matter
- Immediately relevant
- A blend of media and methods (self-directed, interactive, printed, for example)
- Seamlessly integrated into the workday (in-the-moment, on-the-job learning)
Consider offering an online learning portal to make training easily and consistently accessible.
Important: don’t give up on training when times get tough
When an organization faces budget constraints or financial pressures, employee training is often one of the first items to get scaled back. This is a big mistake. Employees crave opportunities for learning and development and frequently cite it as an important factor in their engagement and retention. Robust training and development opportunities can be a key differentiator between your company and competitors.
Summing it all up
Employee training offers critically important benefits for employees and companies. In evaluating what training makes the most sense for your organization, conduct an analysis of your business situation and goals, talk to employees and consult relevant laws. Select training based on clarity of purpose and objectives, relevancy to employees’ jobs and company goals, and achievability according to metrics for success.
Read the entire blog from Insperity at https://www.insperity.com/blog/your-definitive-guide-to-employee-training-why-when-and-how/. Check out other articles written by Insperity here.
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